MIDFIELDER Hope Akpan is eyeing another memorable away day when Blackburn Rovers travel to Preston North End this weekend.

Rovers were 2-1 winners at Deepdale in November last year thanks to a Jordan Pickford own goal, which Akpan tried to claim, and a Jordan Rhodes penalty.


Owen Coyle’s side will be keen to build on their 1-0 win at Newcastle in their last away game and Akpan wants Rovers to stretch their current unbeaten run to four.

Rovers’ victory in the corresponding fixture a year ago was part of an unbeaten run that eventually ended at eight games.

And Akpan says a similar result, and run, this time around will help continue the buoyant mood in the camp.

“It was a big game last year,” the 25-year-old recalled.

“It was one of the more memorable, a really electric atmosphere and hopefully the fans will turn out like they did last year and make the atmosphere great again.

“It’s seven points out of nine now so we’re starting to put a bit of a run together.

“We got that great win away at Newcastle and managed to pick up another point on Saturday, so the feeling is good.

“Things are looking good going in to the New Year so hopefully we can continue that in to December and pick up as many points as we can.”

Rovers make the trip to Deepdale 21st in the Championship, one point and one place above the bottom three.

The Preston visit is followed by back-to-back home games with promotion chasing pair Brighton and Reading before Rovers end the year with away trips at Barnsley and Huddersfield.

So with plenty of points on offer in a busy month, Akpan isn’t underestimating the importance of a good end to the calendar year.

“The Christmas period in the Championship is always massive,” said Akpan, who was speaking at Darwen Vale High School where he took part in a Premier League Girls’ Football afternoon.

“There are so many games and so many points to play for.

“We have three games coming up in the next week and if we can pick up some points then, in the derby game and then two home games, that will stand us in good stead.”

Akpan has made six starts and three substitute appearances for Rovers in the Championship this season, but hasn’t been included in a league XI since the 2-1 defeat at Leeds on September 13.

He has been an unused substitute in the last two matches having missed the 3-2 win over Brentford through suspension.

But Akpan knows he must stay patient in his quest to return to the starting line-up.

He added: “I’ve had to bide my time over the last month or so, wait for my opportunity and the team has been doing well.

“We’ve been picking up points so I just have to wait for my chance and take it when it comes.”